Tavy Cleave: Paradise in a Militarised Zone

As soon as you step out of your car you are met with Warning Military Firing Range – Keep out when warning flags or lights are displayed. Danger. Do not touch any military debris it may explode and kill you. The sort of thing that many people might find intimidating, maybe that is why this area of the moor might not be as well visited as it’s southern counterpart.


Following the path alongside the leat you could be anywhere on Dartmoor but as you travel further into Tavy Cleave, you begin to feel like you are entering a land before time as tor behind to encroach upon the skyline.


We have arrived.


I stared up at Sharp Tor, it’s monolithic quadrilateral mass challenging Khufu’s Great Pyramid, a grey heron broke ground and I smiled as I watched it glide upstream. I could now hear the call of stonechats, cuckoos and meadow pipits as grey wagtails flittered across the stream catching midges. A waterfall growled in the distance.


This was a place of wonder, a paradise in a militarised zone. A peregrine falcon soared about the cleave.


Despite feeling a little dissatisfied with the short length of the walk I knew this had to be where I stopped for the night.


A perfect spot for a little morning swim next to the waterfall. Refreshing.



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